Death of longtime campus physician Robert “Bob” Ellington

Dr. Ellington, who directed Elon's health center for more than 18 years, died Sept. 20 at the age of 87.

Dr. Robert “Bob” Ellington speaks during the Aug. 20, 2013, rededication of a student health center that carries his name.

Dr. Robert “Bob” Ellington Sr., who treated thousands of Elon students, faculty and staff as medical director of the campus health center, died Sept. 20, 2019, after a lengthy illness. The Elon University R.N. Ellington Center, which houses Counseling Services, Student Health Services and Faculty/Staff Wellness, is named in honor of his years of dedicated service. In 2005 Ellington received the Elon Medallion in recognition of his service to the university.

Ellington served as Elon’s medical director from 1985 to 2003. His vision and leadership helped the Elon health facility grow from a part-time first aid station with one doctor and nurse to a full-time acute-care center. The Robert N. Ellington Health Center opened in 2001, providing more than 5,000 square feet of space for student, faculty and staff health needs. In 2013, the center moved to a larger facility on South Campus and the building was rededicated in Dr. Ellington’s honor.

Ellington placed a high priority on his relationships with students, treating them with care, support and encouragement. An advocate for the health and wellness of the Elon community, he frequently shared his expertise in campus discussions of health-related issues such as drug and alcohol abuse. Known affectionately as “Dr. Bob”, he enjoyed mentoring young people. He initiated and hosted (in 1972 and subsequent years) a golf tournament for young area golfers, served as team physician to many of Tommy Cole’s basketball teams, advised the young men of Elon’s Sigma Chi chapter and contributed to scholarships for deserving students.

Ellington practiced obstetrics and gynecology in the Elon and Burlington community from 1963 to 1985. His wife, Helen Ellington, served as coordinator of special events in the president’s office at Elon, and his daughter, Anne Ellington Powell, is an Elon trustee.

A memorial service celebrating Ellington’s life will be held at 2 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 29, at Front Street United Methodist Church. The family will receive friends following the service at the church. Memorials may be made to Elon University (the Ellington Scholarship), 2600 Campus Box, Elon NC 27244; Front Street United Methodist Church, PO Box 2690, Burlington NC 27216 or Hospice of Alamance Caswell, 914 Chapel Hill Road, Burlington NC 27215.

Lowe Funeral Home in Burlington, N.C., is handling arrangements.

Dr. Ellington spoke during the health center’s rededication ceremony in 2013: